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VMware Claims It's Cheaper Than Microsoft

VMware-commissioned study claims advanced management capabilities make VMware less expensive than Microsoft virtualization products when you factor in admin time. But beware the red flags.
VMware claims its virtualization products are cheaper than Microsoft's when the total cost of ownership is calculated over a two-year period. To get to that conclusion, it sponsored a study by Principled Technologies that takes a close look at two years of administrator time and expense required to run the respective systems.

Readers of this report: beware. VMware got itself in trouble last July by charging for vSphere 5 Enterprise Edition based on the amount of virtual memory the customer used. It initially set a 48-GB virtual memory limit per license; three weeks later, in the face of customer feedback, it raised it to 96-GB per license. This study is part of VMware's continued response to that blowup.

Setting the price based on virtual resources instead of physical resources struck directly at the budgets of some of VMware's largest customers. The companies exceeding the 48-GB limit were most likely the skilled implementers gaining the most value from VMware products. Proliferating cores per CPU were constantly raising the number of VMs that could be run on one host. VMware decided to shift the basis for pricing so that it too could ride the CPU escalator. Customers protested vigorously. Microsoft, still pricing per physical CPU, started referring to the VMware "v-tax."

What's a dominant virtualization vendor to do? Well, for one thing, it commissioned a study that shifts attention to the cost of the people required to run virtual machines in the data center.

[ Learn more how VMware vSphere and Microsoft System Center compete. See Microsoft Makes Cloud Management Move On VMware. ]

Principled Technologies compared five administrative tasks run on each vendor's central virtualization system: vSphere 5.1 and vCenter for VMware, and System Center with Virtual Machine Manager for Microsoft. The five tasks and their conclusions were: